Tuesday, January 31, 2012

5 Minutes

5 minutes.   That's how long we were at the Houston Rockets game before the noise and chaos became a little too much for Gabriel.  Actually, we were there for about an hour because we over estimated the Houston traffic and travel was quicker than anticipated. 

It was a little disappointing that we couldn't stay longer but the tickets and parking were free so nothing was truly lost.  And, we did get out for a little while! 

The exciting thing about the evening; for Gabe's first NBA game he sat in floor seats inches away from the announcers and mere feet away from the basketball players. 
And a few pictures from the evening
So the announcers desk is about 4 feet off the ground but at
6'9" Mr. Scola had no problem putting his foot up there [smile].

Gabe was so close to the announcer.  People kept asking this
gentleman for his photograph but we had no clue who he was.

How close we were to the announcers on the court!

Security :)

And of course, a family photograph

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Some days I am just overwhelmed with emotions for my children
Yes, technically, my only child is Gabe, but in my heart, there already is a child (or two) on the other side of the world whom I call my own; who I love deeply, passionately and fiercely.  Just like I love Gabriel. 
These emotions I feel... love that feels like it can suffocate me because it's so strong, agony for their pain and challenges, joy for their triumphs and hope for their futures.  These feelings are usually the followed by feelings of gratitude to their birth families and inadequacy and unbelievability that God has trusted us to raise these children; to love them and to teach them to love Him. 
Then I read a poem like this and in a simple cadence, it describes my feelings beautifully:
  I tiptoed into your room one night.
I watched you sleeping there.
Your tiny body looked so snug
Wrapped in peaceful slumber's care.

I thought of how you came to be
The child we'd longed to know.
I wondered at the sight of you:
"How could she let you go?"

Tears streamed down my cheeks as I
Felt the pain she must have known.
For I will have to let you go
Some day when you are grown.

A mother I might never meet
Had given me her son.
Yet, surely as you've filled my heart,
A piece of hers you'd won.

"How could she let you go?"
The question kept returning.
And in the depths of my own heart.
A question kept on burning.

"How can I ever let you go
When years have come and gone?"
I stood there by your crib until
The nighttime turned to dawn.

And as the sun peeked through the shades,
The voice of God broke through.
"I trusted her to give him life
And now I'm trusting to you.

"To show him what is right and wrong,
to love him and to be
The one who teaches him the way
To come back home to me.

"He wasn't hers to give, you know.
And he's not yours to own.
I've placed him in your life to love
-Valerie Kay Gwin, from Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul

Friday, January 27, 2012

1 more day!

A huge thank you to everyone that has participated in our Scentsy fundraiser!  We are truly blessed by your kindness. 
The Scentsy fundraiser continues through tomorrow, so click here (and choose LaGorga Adoption Fundraiser) if you're interested in checking it out, making your house smell lovely and helping us bring our little one (or two) home where they belong. 

And just a little cuteness to leave you with. 

Gabe sitting in the train at the mall.  After the day
he had here, he deserved a little fun!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


This week definately started off on the wrong foot with Gabe and I being locked out of the house.  For 4 hours.  And Matt was out of town.  And we didn't have a spare key.  Yikes! 

Thankfully the weather was nice and Gabe spent a lot of time climbing in and out of the flower bed and playing with his car.  Gabe now prefers to push his car and watch his mama chase after it then ride in the car like it is intended. 

We weren't imagining it being 4 hours, but with a key snafu with our landlord husband then traffic problems it couldn't be helped.  Well, it could have been helped by calling a locksmith right away, but that's neither here nor there. 

In the meantime, I found out that I had locked our car by setting the alarm off (it is a very loud and long alarm) and the only thing I could get out of the car was Gabe's sweatshirt.  That was definitely a good thing because while it was 65 and sunny at 2:45 when we went outside by 6:00 when the sun had set, the air had a good chill to it.  We took refuge in the garage where I twirled brooms, wore buckets on my head and sang Wheels on the Bus at least 40 times to keep Gabe happy.  And his happiness allowed me to keep my sanity.

Around 7:30 our landlord showed up, let us into our house and we cleaned up, ate dinner and went to bed.  Truly, Gabe was asleep by 8:30 - complete madness!

Now we have a spare key and I am just a tad bit paranoid about being locked.  By tad paranoid I mean I checked and rechecked about 5 times before we left the house yesterday and today.  I will not be locked out of my house again.  For 4 hours.  With a 2 year old.  I will not!

For entertainment value, when we left to go to physical therapy Tuesday morning my SUV alerted me that there was a theft attempt on our vehicle.  Good to know, except for the fact that I was the one trying to break in.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A few more...

pictures of Gabe from the photo shoot with Erica Cambarare Photography.  Gabe was his usual spunky stubborn, sweet toddler self and would not sit still for anything.  And the only time he would smile (when he knew the camera was on his) was when his mom was standing behind the camera singing veggie tales and dancing around.  Some how (and I didn't think it was possible after witnessing how crazy 5 boys at a photo shoot were), Erica took quite a few cute pictures of Gabe (and his cousins).  Here are a few of my favorites of Gabriel.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Not quite a silver lining.

Update:  Welcome readers from Kelly's Korner SULF.  Thank you for coming over!  Click here for the beginning of our story, click here for how we found out about Gabriel, and now we're in the process of adopting from Ethiopia.  We have the Scentsy fundraiser below and then 3 fundraisers on my side bars: Ordinary Hero (click Meredith LaGorga as your affiliate), Just Love Coffee (must click from our blog) and 147 Million Orphans (must click from blog). Thanks again for checking us out and follow along as we wait to bring home our newest little one or two.  XOXO 

The scentsy fundraiser that was mentioned here is up and running. Click here and choose LaGorga Adoption Fundraiser.    I was doing some more perusing last night and found a few more cute things.
Scentsy Buddy
Scentsy Circle (perfect for your car or gym bag)
Full Size Warmer
And that not-quite-a-silver-lining.... while we wait we can use that time to save more money and fundraise for the remaining adoption fees.  Not a really good silver lining but since everything else is ready (our hearts, our home, our longing arms) and I'm really trying to find something good in the wait, this is it. 

Again, thank you so much for your support and please, spread the word of our Scensty fundraiser!  You are appreciated.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Exodus 14:14

A while ago, I asked God to break my heart towards the things that break His.  When those words left my lips, I was thinking along the lines of orphans and children in need.  Instead God saw fit to open my eyes (and heart) to many other avenues of despair.

Lately my heart has been hurting. 

A dear friend of mine lost her mother after a battle with cancer.  I can't even begin to understand how she's feeling but my heart just aches for her.  I try to envision losing my mom and I can't even go there mentally.  I want to hug my friends neck, sit with her and pray... and repeat Exodus 14:14 to her.
“The Lord will fight for you…”

I have reconnected with a few people from high school and middle school recently through facebook and to my dismay a few of them are going through seperation or divorce with their spouse.  It breaks my heart when I think of God's intention of marriage and how it is now being lived out in the 21st century.  While I don't know the details (I don't need to cause it's not my business!),  my heart just aches for the families that are breaking, the lives changing and the children in the middle.  At night when I pray for them, I just long to whisper Exodus 14:14 in their ears.
“The Lord will fight for you…”

I've posted and asked for prayers for Sweet Tripp a few times before and on Saturday Tripp left the pain of this world and entered the arms of his Savior.  I rejoice for him; to be pain free for the first time in his life and be in heaven with his Father.  But then I think of Courtney... and my eyes well with tears and my heart starts to race.  To lose the child you've loved for nearly 3 years, to know you will never feel him in your arms again this side of heaven is unbearable.  My heart feels like it's been ripped out whenever I think of Courtney and Tripp.  God fought for Tripp here on earth and Tripp won.  I pray his sweet mama feels God's comfort and peace and that someone she knows directs her to Exodus 14:14.
“The Lord will fight for you…”

A family in my adoption facebook group lost their referral to their 4 year old daughter.  And while God's intended plan for a family, a child being able to live with their parent is fulfilled, the empty arms and broken hearts of people who already loved this little one as their own rips me apart.  Partly because I worry that will happen to us, but also because whether I want to or not, I can feel their pain.

I think of the 150 million orphans in the world, most of whom will never know the love of a family.

I think of the women who make the decision to abort their babies and of the babies that are never born.

I think of the courageous young women who make the decision to put their baby up for adoption and the families that don't have a choice; give their child up for adoption or watch their child starve to death.

And I think of Gabe.  Gabe, who is our knee-walking, talking little miracle.  Our little one that has climbed so many hills, accomplished so much yet has so much more work to do... and I just want to whisper to them all.  Yell it from the mountain tops.  And preach it on the street. 

Right where you are, whatever you are going through.... "the Lord will fight for you..." Exodus 14:14.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

daily dose of cuteness

Glasses, tie, cup of milk... he is ready for the day! And I'm pretty sure he's the best thing since sliced bread!

Monday, January 16, 2012


Before Gabe, Matt and I were blessed, immensely blessed to be the aunt and uncle of these four guys: Jacob, Ethan, Samuel and Caleb.

These are 4 of the awesomest (yes spell check, awesomest!) boys I know. They are kind, funny, smart and an absolute joy be around.  Jacob is so smart, insightful beyond his years and one heck of a gamer.  Ethan has such a gentle spirit, resonates sweetness and has some mad soccer foot skills.  Samuel is funny, spunky, joyful and just the life of a party.  Caleb is nearly grown; a super busy, smart, fabulous baseball player who still makes time to play with his younger cousins, sit and talk with his aunt (me) and has a soul that just screams goodness.

Spending time with these boys prepared us for Gabe; they taught us to love a little deeper, stay up a little later and enjoy the chaos all little boys seem to create. Honestly, I wasn't sure I would be able to love Gabe any more than I love these four. My SIL said I would, that it'd be different. And it is. But I love these boys with a fierceness and a thankfulness that they're in my life.
If I didn't think I could love them more before Gabe was born, boy was I wrong.  I guess my love for anyone grows stronger when they love my Gabe.  And these boys, they LOVE Gabe.  Despite their age differences they play with Gabe, dote on him, share with him and spend countless hours making him laugh. 

Gabe loves his cousins like crazy.  He asks for them daily and always wants to see them on Facetime.  Caleb (pronounced 'Club', Ethan, Jacob (pronounced 'Cub) and Sammy were some of Gabe's first words.  And he's so smitten with Sammy that he calls him "my Sammy." 

Gabe is so blessed to have such wonderful cousins.  We are blessed to have such wonderful nephews.  And Matt, Gabe and I... we miss them like crazy.

And just like Gabe waits, his cousins wait as well... for a new baby or two.  A new cousin to love, to make laugh and to join this crazy crew of boys.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"God is good, the world He made is extraordinary and His comfort is like nothing else on earth." 
 -Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

Daytona Beach - September 2011

Friday, January 13, 2012

4 Months Waiting

I don't have anything eloquent to say about 4 months of waiting; no deep thoughts, uplifting scripture verses or enlightening quotes to share. 
So I'll just be blunt.  Waiting on a list to be matched with a child while there are more than 150 million orphans waiting for a family stinks.  Being bound by birth order guidelines when you would love to open your heart to a child of any age seems ridiculous.  Watching other people bring home their little children while you're still waiting seems unfair.  Deeply loving a child that you don't know; their gender, birth date, the color of their eyes or the glow of their smile seems impossible but accurate. 
Four months in and so many more to go.  God put us on this path for a reason and hopefully we'll figure some of it out during the wait.

As for Gabriel... he's waiting too.

photograph by Erica Cambarare Photography

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mommy Wars

“So encourage each other and build each other up,
 just as you are already doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

This has been on my mind a lot lately.  Mother's trying to one-up one another.  Mother's trying to prove that they should be the winner of the World's Best Mother award.  Rather than encouraging one another, we prove to tear each other down and it needs to stop. 

A few weeks ago I was with Gabe in his Sunday School classroom.  The teachers that day were also parents of children in the room and Gabe was enjoying playing with them.  If I'm being honest, Gabe has completely missed playing with other children since we moved to Houston and I enjoyed seeing him share and laugh at other kids.  As we (the mothers) were talking I asked if anybody got together for play groups during the week.  The answer was no, that most of the mom's there worked.  And it wasn't the answer that through me, it was the looks and the tone.  I was immediately put in my place as being the stay-at-home-mom.
Yesterday, I saw the reverse happen.  Two mother's were talking in the waiting room of Gabe's therapy office (I was, ahem, just overhearing).  I see them sitting together every Wednesday so I assumed they were friends.  But today I saw otherwise.  Mother 1 asked if Mother 2 and her daughter would want to go out to lunch after therapy next week.  Mother 2 responded that she couldn't on Wednesday's but would be able to on weekends because she has to go to work after her daughters therapy appointment.  Mother 1 then proceeded to look aghast and exclaim "you work."  I'll admit at that my head did turn in the direction of their conversation.  Because her tone... it was so condescending.  I wanted to get up and give Mother 2 a hug and tell her that she shouldn't be made to feel bad because she works. 

I didn't.  Eavesdropping and then an awkward hug would have definitely labeled me a weirdo.  But oh, it just grated on my nerves how one mom would judge another.  You know judging the mom who leaves work to take her child to therapy and then goes back to work afterwards... that's a mom that's putting the theraputic needs of her child above her own.  My goodness!  It's crazy.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language.
Let everything you say be good and helpful,
so that your words will be an encouragement
to those who hear them.”
-Ephesians 4:29

I'll be completely honest with you, I love being a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom).  I don't know how I would be able to leave Gabe in the care of anyone else for 40 hours a week and thankfully me staying at home with our children was the plan for us.   And while it hasn't always been easy to make it work, it has been worth it.  For us. 

In my circle of friends, I have friends that are SAHMs like me, friends that work outside of the home full-time and part-time, friends that go to school full-time and part-timeand even friends that work at home (WAHMs).  For each of us, it is what works for us.  For some of us, it's not what we'd prefer to be doing, but it's what works for us presently.  And while I can't imagine working outside the home, I have friends that can't imagine not working.  While I may not always understand the reasons people choose to work (again, I'm being honest), I respect their decision to do what's best for their family.

This is my plea, my call for action... rather than judging one another for a decision that isn't the same as yours... instead of tearing each other down for doing something differently than the someone else... let's build one another up.  Encourage each other.  Be there for each other.  Motherhood is hard.  It is the loveliest thing in the world but it is hard. And tiring.  And sometimes lonely.  And sometimes discouraging. 

So mothers let's stand together and unite against these so called "mommy wars" and be of encouragement and joy to one another. As Paul wrote in Roman's "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification" (Romans 14:19)

And now I will step off my soap box.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

10 Days til Scentsy

Have you heard about Scentsy?  I had heard little snippets about their wickless candles but not too much about them until my friend Sarah became a consultant.

And now Sarah has offered to hold a Scentsy Open House with all her commission going towards our adoption.  How generous is that?  It helps that Sarah and her husband have a heart for the orphan and plan on adopting in the future. 

Because we are here in Texas while most of our family and friends our in Ohio, my mom has graciously agreed to open her house on January 21st to host the Scentsy party with Sarah. 

On January, 21st (or a few days before) I will post a link here (and on facebook) to our Scentsy adoption fundraiser on Sarah's website.  That way if you live to far away or are just busy on Saturday but still want to check out Scentsy products, you can! 

Speaking for myself, I am interested in a plug-in for our half bathroom.  We store Gabe's dirty diapers in there in a wet bag and sometimes when you unzip the wet bag - watch out!  Currently we use a diffuser but as Gabe has entered the climbing stage of toddler hood, I'm thinking we may have to stop using it soon.  I also think a bright smelling (is there even such a thing as a bright smell?) candle would be nice for the playroom. 

So anyways, that's the Scents scoop!  If you're interested, please check it out! 

And Sarah,
    From the bottom of our hearts we appreciate your support and generosity through this whole adoption process.  XO

Monday, January 9, 2012

Until Recently

The weather in Texas is one of the things that I'm pretty sure I can get used too.  Being able to walk to the park any time we want is vastly different than the rainy and snowy weather we left behind in Ohio.  Thus walking to the park (the far one because the close ones don't have young child swings or swirly slides) is a pretty routine part of our day.  Well, routine on the days he wants to go because some days, Gabe doesn't want to go to the park.  I'm not sure why, but who am I to make him go have fun if he doesn't want to [smile].

Until recently Gabe's favorite park activity was the swing.  Sitting in the bucket swing or sitting under the bucket swing while I pushed it, were sure to illicit smiles and laughter alike.  We could literally spend hours playing with the swing in the park or in our back yard. 

But now, everything has changed! Gabe is all about the slide. Usually I will place Gabe on the slide and then sit down behind and we go down together.  That didn't work as planned when the little bugger started scooting down the slide before I had a chance to sit down.  Thus I shot down the adjacent slide (seriously, I haven't gone down a slide that fast since grade school) and made it to the bottom of his slide just as his little feet poked through. 

My first thought was I made it in time to catch him (which wasn't needed).  And my second thought was... he did it!  Gabe went down the super tall, swirly slide ALL BY HIMSELF.  I was so proud of him.  And I'm pretty sure he was proud of himself as well.  The fact that he could control his speed, use his feet to maneuver himself and that he was brave enough to do it all by himself just tickled me pink. 

What else tickled me pink?  His hearty and deep belly laughs that started the second he pushed off at the top of the slide and didn't stop until a few minutes after he reached the bottom.  And that laughter, made the next 25 or so times we climbed back up the stairs and then I flew down the adjacent slide to meet him at the bottom of his slide oh so worth it!

Here's the picture proof that Gabriel is now the master of the swirly slide!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Can you believe that we were in Ohio for 13 days and besides a light (very light) dusting of snow on December 29th there was not enough snow to actually play in until hours before we left?  I was desperate for snow and the opportunity for Gabriel to play in the snow for the first time.  Alas, we'll have to wait until next year unless there is a wildly insane weather shift and we end up with inches of snow here in Houston.  Not likely. 

While part of me was glad to be able to leave the snow in Ohio, I was not happy about the other things we had to leave behind. Things like...

story time with Nonny,

wearing matching pajama's and being silly during a sleepover with cousins

trips to Dave & Busters with 4 of our favorite boys,

playing dime and penny games of poker with family and friends,

spur of the moment visits with Auntie Sondra (this is Gabe's 'smug' look)...

afternoon naps on Papo's lap,
and playing Wheel of Fortune on the Gabe's Doodle pad with Ethan and Sam.
While Texas is now where we call home, there are some things that we left behind in Ohio that no matter how good Houston becomes, Ohio will always win with.  Family, friends and the priceless moments spent with the ones we love will always win out.  Always.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


For the most part, I don't like New Years resolutions.  For me they have always been an opportunity to succeed in the short-term but fail in the long-term.  Creating a list of goals generally has the same results for me as well - abject failure! 

I, like most people I imagine, hate failing.  So no resolutions or goals for me.  Sure, I have goals.  I'm not sure I would get anything accomplished if I didn't keep a running to-do list handy or had long term goals.  But I have no grandiose pronouncement of a goal for the new year. 
I do however have a 'phrase' for 2012.  And it may seem like a resolution to you but if I pair my phrase mentally with the word resolution it would be sure to derail any potential success.
Do you remember PeeWee's Play House?  I don't every remember actually watching it but I do remember friends telling me the word of the day when I got to school.  This year will be a little bit like that for me except it will be one phrase for the year not a new word for each day and no one will scream when I say it!  At least I hope not [smile].
My phrase of the year is to "be intentional."  The word intentional actually came to me in early December when I was doing a little mental year-end review.  While ruminating all that 2011 brought to us, it became quite apparent that I had very little intentionality in my life (especially after we moved) and just tried to get from one day to the next. 

I imagine that this year will be a lot of the same as last year; waiting for our referral and monthly numbers update, anticipating visits home, being anxious for weekends and enjoying the daily love and fun I have with Gabe.  The only difference is I'm going to be intentional about all of it. 

I'm going to be intentional about the wait; learn as much about Ethiopia and the culture of our future little ones as possible while preparing my heart to be the mother of one of God's greatest blessings.  I'm going to be intentional with our money; save more and spend less, spend more at small businesses and less at huge conglomerates of businesses.  I'm going to be intentional with my time; the time I spend at home with Gabe, the evenings I spend with Matt, the days we spend in Ohio and the moments I have alone.  I'm going to be intentional with my time with God; delving deeper into the word of God and learning more and more about his desires for my life. And I'm going to be intentional with my passions.  God gave me a heart for orphans and the fatherless not so that I sit at home and look at statistics but so that I make a difference in the lives of others.  God also gave me the sweetest little boy on the planet to mother, love and teach and although I have loved every minute I am going to be much more intentional about shepherding his sweet little heart into a heart that loves the Lord. 

And that's it.  In 2012 I am going to be intentional, on purpose!  What about you?  Any goals, resolutions or even phrases that have you moving forward this new year?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Years Eve

For the first time in years, Matt and I went out on New Years Eve.  We are quite the party animals (not hardly)so even during our New Years Eve's before we were parents were usually spent with us sitting at home and sleeping soundly shortly after (or sometimes before) Dick Clark counted down the ball drop!

But New Years Eve 2011 we went out.  We had the opportunity to get dressed up, dance to a live band and stay out all night.  We also had the privileged of watching Matt's cousin Mac get married.  The wedding was phenomenal... watching two people who are so obviously love be united in marriage in front of family, friends and God is just pure joy!  Being able to celebrate their love with the one I love makes it just a tad bit sweeter.  And the wedding itself was spectacular... every aspect was beautiful, every little detail thought out perfectly.  It was such a lovely event and we had such a wonderful time.  

But I'll be completely honest when I say I may have been slightly neurotic about checking on Gabe back at home with my parents but other than that we were footloose and fancy free!  

To top off a night of good food, dancing and spending time with family (plus my elementary music teacher who happened to be sitting at our table - weird, I know), I had the most uninterrupted sleep in years.  It's no secret that Gabe is not a good sleeper (not his fault, that schizencephaly strikes again) albeit one moment of waking up in panic because I couldn't hear Gabe's monitor, I slept like the proverbial rock.

Because we rarely have the opportunity to take pictures together or be dressed up, I set the camera on the television, turned on the timer and voila!  Pictures of our night out!

Going out two times in a little over a week, helped us lose a
little bit of the awkwardness in the Christmas Carol picture.   

 We had so much fun that I'm thinking Matt and I need to do this going-out-alone thing more often!